The Milwaukee Brewers have gotten off to a strong start this spring, winning their first three Cactus League contests (not including an exhibition game against UW-Milwaukee). They put their perfect record on the line against the 1-2 Athletics on the road at Hohokam Stadium behind the spring debut of Jimmy Nelson.
CF Keon Broxton lead off the game with a walk for Milwaukee against A's starter Rich Hill but was doubled off after SS Orlando Arcia popped out into into shallow right field. C Jonathan Lucroy then doubled off the wall, so Broxton's TOOTBLAN essentially cost the Brewers a run. RF Domingo Santana and 1B Chris Carter both followed with walks to load the bases for 3B Will Middlebrooks. Unfortunately he struck out looking to end the inning and the Brewers went scoreless.
Jimmy Nelson had an easy 1-2-3 in his first inning of work on a flyout and two ground balls. LF Rymer Liriano lead off the top of the 2nd with a leadoff triple to right field for his first hit of the spring and was driven home by a groundout to short from 2B Colin Walsh to make it 1-0 in favor of the Brewers. A's manager Bob Melvin then pulled Hill in favor of lefty Ryan Brasier. The 28 year old non-roster invitee set down DH Eric Young and Broxton to end the inning.
Jimmy started the second with a popout and a fly out to center before walking Billy Butler. Chris Carter was in the right place at the right time to snare a hot liner off the bat of the next hitter Jake Smolinski at first base and Nelson had two scoreless innings.
Righty Liam Hendricks entered the game in the top of the third for Oakland and retired Arcia before Jonathan Lucroy hit yet another double. He would end up stranded there however and the Brewers went scoreless.
Will Smith entered the game for the Brewers in the bottom of the third and threw a scoreless 1-2-3 inning. The A's sent 23 year old prospect Raul Alcantra out to the hill for their half of the fourth inning and he allowed a leadoff single to Middlebrooks, his first hit of the spring. Liriano followed with his second extra-base hit of the game, an RBI double to center to make it 2-0 Brewers. A base hit to left next by Walsh made it first and third with no outs. Young was set down on strikes but Broxton followed with a walk to load the bases with one out. Unfortunately Orlando Arcia would bounce into a double-play to end the threat.
Corey Knebel replaced Will Smith for the fourth inning and struck out Jed Lowrie before allowing a walk and a single. After Danny Valencia grounded out to advance the runners, Billy Butler followed with a single up the middle to score both runners and tie the game at two apiece. A pop out to right ended the inning but the damage was done.
Alcantra came back out for a second inning in the top of the fifth for Oakland and held the Brewers scoreless despite walking Santana. Michael Blazek entered in the bottom of the fifth for Milwaukee and he allowed three straight hits and a run to start the inning. A walk then loaded the bases and caused Craig Counsell to pull Blazek without recording an out in favor of Brooks Hall. He promptly threw a wild pitch past new catcher Adam Weisenburger to make the score 4-2. Hall then allowed a single to Tyler Ladendorf that scored another pair of runs to make it 6-2 A's. That would be it for the A's in the fifth though as Hall was able to get out of it.
Lefty Daniel Coulombe came on for Oakland in the 6th and retired Liriano before walking Walsh and allowing a single to Young. Alex Presley grounded into a fielder's choice for Broxton followed by a groundout by Jake Elmore for Arcia and the Brewers were held scoreless.
Sean Nolin came on for the Brewers in the bottom half of the sixth to face his former team and allowed another run, albeit unearned due to a Josmil Pinto error at first, to score to make it 7-2 Oakland. Trey Corchran-Gill came on for the A's and threw a clean 1-2-3 top of the seventh inning.
Damien Magnifeco was the next Brewers' pitcher to be called upon and he responded with a perfect seventh, holding Oakland scoreless for the first time since the third inning. Tucker Healy came out for Oakland for the top of the eighth. The Brewers showed some life with a leadoff double by Garin Cecchini followed by a hit-by-pitch absorbed by Shane Peterson. After a fly out by Yadiel Rivera the powerful Andy Wilkins launched his second home run of the spring, a three-run shot to make it 7-5. Alex Pressley followed with a solo shot of his own to make it 7-6 and the Brewers were right back in it. Kris Hall promptly replaced Healy on the mound and allowed another hit, this one to Weisenburger, but escaped without allowing another run.
Longtime Brewer farmhand Hiram Burgos entered the game for the Brewers in the bottom of the eighth and threw a scoreless inning, allowing a double and notching two strikeouts. One-time Brewers' draftee Dylan Covey was called upon by the A's to come in and close out the game in the top of the ninth. He walked Pinto to lead off the inning and put the tying run aboard, then retired the next two hitters before allowing the go-ahead two-run home run to Yadiel Rivera of all people.
Burgos remained for the ninth inning. The first batter flew out to right fielder Michael Reed. The next batter struck out. With their undefeated streak on the line, Burgos almost hung on for the win. But he couldn't get over Josh Phegley who tied the game with a home run. With spring training rules in place, the game ended in a tie. So you know, THE BREWERS ARE STILL UNDEFEATED!!! They're now 3-0-1.
Milwaukee returns to Maryvale tomorrow to face off against the Cleveland Indians at 2:05 CST and the game audio will be streamed live on MLB.com.